Out of the Forest

January 16, 2007, 9:58 pm
Filed under: beliefs, nature

slender loris

The slender loris. Just one of the many unusual and often-overlooked animals on the Edge project’s conservation list. The creature is, rather unsurprisingly, hunted for its eyes, which are popular in folk medicines.

The Edge of Existence project will protect these rare creatures, along with other strange animals. From the article:

“If we lose them there’s nothing similar to them left on the planet,” said Dr Baillie. “If you were to think of an Edge species in art terms, it would be like losing the Mona Lisa, something that’s irreplaceable and completely distinct.”

I like the comparison to works of art. It is my contention that all creatures on earth contribute, in their own way, to the beauty of the world, and deserve to be as protected as the most valuable of human creations.

You can read more about the Edge project, and make a donation, on their website.


January 9, 2007, 9:32 pm
Filed under: nature

As personal wealth seems to be a prime motivator in the world, maybe this news will convince those who can afford to buy hybrid cars that it is a good thing to do. Turns out, despite the hefty upfront cost, hybrid cars actually save money in the long run:

“Across the board, we found that all 22 hybrid vehicles have a better total cost of ownership over five years or 70,000 miles than the vehicles they directly compete against,” said James Bell, Intellichoice.com’s publisher.

I have a feeling that this will be a more effective selling point than any possible benefits to the environment–the welfare of the planet and the future of mankind being so intangible and all.

January 6, 2007, 7:20 pm
Filed under: beliefs, nature

The European Union has implemented new rules designed to ease the stress of farm animals as they are transported. That’s all good, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a shame, really, but I only think about the plight of farm animals when I pass them on the highway, packed tightly on trucks in conditions that always look deplorable.

The animal welfare organization Compassion In World Farming (CIWF) has campaigned hard for this and other, similar legislation. From their website:

The basis of all CIWF’s work on farm animal welfare is the recognition that animals are sentient beings.

This means they are capable of being aware of sensations and emotions, of feeling pain and suffering, and of experiencing a state of well being. CIWF believes that our own behaviour towards animals should be guided by this recognition of their sentience.

It seems obvious to me that most animals, including farm animals, can experience pain and suffering. And like us, they have a deep-rooted desire to live and remain comfortable. In this regard, and I believe without undue anthropomorphism, I can empathize fully with my fellow animals of the world. And given this, how could I possibly tolerate the harsh conditions imposed on farm animals, or the cruelty inflicted upon animals around the world? I simply cannot.

January 4, 2007, 8:34 pm
Filed under: nature

There are cherry blossoms blooming in New York. Right now, in January. Of course, I think immediately of global warming. What a beautiful, but ominous portent…

Or perhaps its just a coincidence.

January 2, 2007, 9:53 pm
Filed under: nature, oddities

Did you forget our furry friends when making your holiday purchases this year? You can atone for that grievous oversight by bringing toys on your next visit to the National Zoo. Or you can donate money so that the needed gifts can be purchased. But hurry! Goats grow restless without their Jolly balls!

December 29, 2006, 11:30 pm
Filed under: beliefs, nature

An editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times hints that the Bush administration may finally be forced to acknowledge the reality of global warming, thanks to the plight of polar bears:

With its proposal, announced Wednesday, to list polar bears as a threatened species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the first time acknowledged that global warming is the driving force behind an animal’s potential extinction. If the polar bear is listed as endangered, then the U.S. government would be bound by law to protect it — and protecting it may require regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Let us hope this proves to be true, and that the slack-witted Bush administration finally sees the light.